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#434276 - 05/10/13 07:29 PM Re: To those of you who did(n't) tell your family... [Re: Incognito]
Lancer Offline

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
Glad to see this thread rebooted. Thank you Buffalo.

My approach has been entirely selfish. It was more a matter of when I was ready, not when anyone else was ready.

First time was a letter to my adopted, abusive Mommybitch and her enabler third husband who'd both created the situation priming me for the high school guidance counselor perp who I named. I simply didn't care about their reaction. My thot was to put the responsibility for their actions right back in their laps where it belonged. I'd carried it long enuf.

Interestingly, it drove her further into self-imposed isolation and resentment for which, let me make it clear, I am NOT responsible. Her karma is her own business. As I've often said, I've certainly had a satisfying sense of schadenfreude to let her deal with it in her own dysfunctional way...apparently badmouthing me to anyone who'd still listen.

Later, it was a cordial, two-hour call and nine-page note to my stepsister, correctly assuming it was likely Mommybitch had just swept it under the carpet. My goal was simply to break the silence and I didn't care if she ever responded further. She didn't. I'm okay with that. We filled in many of the blanks for each other.

I've done similarly with cousins, again, just to break the silence. Mixed reactions, as I'd expected. But it brought me closer to one cousin in recovery who for all purposes today is a brother I never had (but he was also Dad's favorite nephew...and Dad was the only sane one in the bunch because of his own recovery).

#434285 - 05/10/13 09:19 PM Re: To those of you who did(n't) tell your family... [Re: Incognito]
OCN Offline

Registered: 02/05/13
Posts: 409
Loc: Western Europe
Good topic indeed

i dont really know why i decided to tell my parents, but i did eventually. It was pretty much right after i (re)discovered i was abused. I've told it to a friend on the 21st of December last year and after that i had an appointment with a therapist. So i decided it would be best to first tell my parents before i'd go into therapy

It was a strange rollercoaster, they responded pretty well (apart from the 'why didnt you tell it earlier' remark by my dad - which i can understand in his situation). They really helped me through the first couple of weeks and also 'helped' with confronting my brother. I'm still not sure whether that was a good thing; i've read that confronting the perpetrator is something for later in the recovery. But it happened anyway.

They stood up for me, helped me out and confronted my brother. They werent angry at me at all and they try to understand. I notice that there's always the distance between me and them, but thats because i cant always express how i feel.

To me it was a big relief, even though i was afraid i had destroyed everything - to me it remains a delicate family situation. But i've realized its important to step up for yourself and speak the truth which has been stored for so long.

If you can trust your parents, you can have amazing support - at least in my case. Guess it all depends on how you see your relationship with your parents. Cause its a big step you take and you want to feel safe in doing so!

Good luck to all of you who are doubting whether or not to tell! It can be a big relief.


Edited by OCN (05/10/13 09:21 PM)
Trust me, you are worth it to love yourself!

I now know who I am - I've never been anybody else!

#461569 - 02/26/14 11:06 PM Re: To those of you who did(n't) tell your family... [Re: Incognito]
gettingstronger Offline

Registered: 09/24/13
Posts: 317
Loc: Virginia

There are times when I'd like to set the record straight, but at this juncture I'm not sure it would really accomplish anything.

The other day, my mother commented, "you kids sure had a great childhood," referring to myself and my sister. I almost cried-- for HER. What I wanted to say was "oh dear God, is that what you really think?"

Hmmm. My self-image, body image and sexuality were virtually destroyed at age 7-8 by friends of my parents. Bullied by my father and sister. Codependent with my mother. Terrorized by a neighborhood psycho such that I was afraid to leave my front yard, from grades 1-6.

Then, several years of sexual abuse by an older neighborhood boy, moreover one who was a friend I admired and envied. Secrecy, shame, confusion, parental betrayal (a post in itself,) years of being torn down in multiple ways, again and again, by people I should have been able to trust. A father who told me how disgusting my mother was to him sexually at every opportunity. (Try digesting that at age eight.) Finally, years of wanting to throw myself in front of a car just to be done with it.

Yeah, awesome childhood, Mom. Just keep thinkin' that.

At this point, it's all done. I'm the one left to deal with it all, and I'm actually doing quite well. I think I'd rather let my parents think everything was fine, rather than having to go through all the grief of explaining, defending myself, and so on. I also know my parents well enough to know I wouldn't receive much, if any, support.

My mom would either go into denial or try to convince me somehow that it wasn't as bad as I was saying. Or, she would find a way to blame me. My dad would pretty much just say something nasty and then blame me for not saying something. I would then have to explain that, given who he is, it wouldn't have mattered. Nothing would have changed, certainly not his own behavior toward me. In my own situation, I see nothing to gain.

However, I know everyone's different. If you fellow survivors believe it's what you need to do, then more power to you! By all means, do what you need to do to heal. My thoughts are with you.


Edited by gettingstronger (02/26/14 11:15 PM)
Edit Reason: additional information

#461735 - 02/28/14 08:31 PM Re: To those of you who did(n't) tell your family... [Re: Incognito]
ThisMan Offline

Registered: 01/23/13
Posts: 778
Loc: upper south
Bob- thanks for bumping this forward so that I could find it! After the past year of witnessing and receiving yet again the bully, ugly behavior of my family this thread gives a chance to put some thoughts into perspective.

I have not told my family. The reasons being many, I suppose. First, my mother already knows because she discovered what was going on when I was six and walked in while the act was taking place. It hasn't been mentioned since. That was 50 years ago. She turned a blind eye and let the same older predator cousin back into the circle of kids when I was 7 or 8 without supervision and he had me again… and again…and again.

My father died when I was 20 after an illness of many years- which let the bro-n-law into the family and to me when I 13. The family loved this man, he was 15 years my senior and did the things which needed to be done when my dad could not. The only trade off was that I seemed to be his reward for a job well done. No one stopped him for 4 long years… maybe they didn't know because it was a different time… but no one stopped him.

I come from a rather large family. I am next to the youngest. When my spouse was sick, almost zero support. When she died, after the excitement of the wake and funeral, ZERO support. If they have not supported me with the challenges life gives us just by existing, they damn certain won't support with something as horrible as CSA or ASA.

Like Bob before me, I have not the energy nor the patience to deal with defending myself, as I always wind up doing anyway when I am around them. I don't want to hear their remarks, their opinions, their lack of any educational info related to sexual abuse and assault, their misuse of the Bible to cast a shadow across my existence and the blame they would place on me for just being one of the youngest in the family.

In short, they are still a family of BULLIES with nothing positive to add to my healing or my life. So, I choose not to share anything of such a personal nature with them.

(I have told my two sons of a small portion of the CSA. They have become even more protective of me.)

Edited by ThisMan (02/28/14 08:33 PM)
For now we see through a glass, darkly.

#461745 - 02/28/14 10:45 PM Re: To those of you who did(n't) tell your family... [Re: Incognito]

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 3855
This thread makes me think what did my parents know. My father a year before his passing asked me an unexpected question as I drove him home from dialysis nine years ago. He told me during morning coffee with the guys, one father told the story of his two sons. Both had troubled lives. The father told his sons had been abused as altar boys at the church, my church where I was an altar boy and also abused. My father asked if anything every happened to me. I was very evasive and he said, if it did he was here for me. When I was ready to speak he was no longer here. My mother passed a year ago this past October. She was unresponsive, no food or water, holding on for 13 days. While I waited, an aid from the assisted living home visited. I introduced myself, I said I was Kevin and she responded in a loud voice, you are Kevin your Mom worried so much about what happened when you were young. She did not know and was not there for you. I asked did my Mom say what happened. She said my Mom would not tell them. I suspect my father told my Mom of his suspicions. She struggled and I did tell her the day before she passed that I was well and receiving help. I told her I had support and had some wonderful people in my life. I may not have told them directly but I believe they knew. I had told my brother a few months before this.

I have told friends and people I have met and they all have been supportive, caring and kind. But I have told other family members and they have been less than kind. The medical professionals believed their actions and words hampered and set back my healing. I cannot exert energies on these people. I did for some time but realize I am moving forward and healing. I do hope one day the bridge can be reconnected, I am open but cautious because no one will put me into a position of feeling and living the CSA today or tomorrow.

In general telling or telling by default has been overwhelmingly positive but unfortunately some met it with disdain and hurt. Telling helped to free me from the control of the abuse. Did I tell my parents, I will never truly know but believe my response to my father and his response to me, makes me believe his suspicions were confirmed. Believing they knew and my fathers kind words when he asked and the words from my Mom's aid of her concern for me for something that happened when I was young, let's me know they loved me and would be there for me if I ever told.

#461788 - 03/01/14 11:14 AM Re: To those of you who did(n't) tell your family... [Re: Incognito]
don64 Offline

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 1106
I began to remember sexual and physical abuse from my father at age 53. I understood at once why my life had been so fucked up and why I was so self-destructive. I also realized that for me, the healthiest choice was to divorce my entire family of origin.

I wrote two letters to my parents. In the first letter I told them that I remembered the abuse and would not see them in person or talk to them on the phone-any contact had to be via mail. I then spent six weeks considering my choice to completely divorce them all. My parents wrote individual letters telling me that I was completely wrong in my accusations and that we needed to sit down and talk about this. My youngest sister also told me via phone that it couldn't have been m father, etc., etc. My entire family is very sick.

The second letter I wrote I posted six weeks after the first as I was leaving the area( I lived 1 hour drive from my parents). In it I told them I was leaving the area and intended to never see them again. My mother wrote a letter to my old address and wrote 'please forward' on the envelope. It caught up with me. In it she said the burden was too much for her to carry and suggested that I get on with my life and quit blaming my parents for my problems. It was 11 years later that I began to remember sexual abuse, physical abuse and torture from my mother.

I am extremely satisfied with my choice in confronting my parents(abusers). It freed me up to begin my journey of moving the toxic secrets out of my body and mind.

I tell anyone who asks me personal questions which require a fuller response from me a simple statement about my csa. I am deciding at this point that the responses I get are simply clear guidelines about who I let in my life.

The healthier I get, the more I become aware of the damage I sustain, and the more protective of myself I become. At this point honest disclosure is necessary for my mental health.
Divine Law is not judgment or denial of self truths. Divine Law is honoring harmony that comes from a peaceful mind, an open heart, a true tongue, a light step, a forgiving nature, and a love of all living creatures. Jamie Sams & David Carson, Medicine Cards

#461789 - 03/01/14 11:17 AM Re: To those of you who did(n't) tell your family... [Re: Incognito]
Dan99 Offline

Registered: 06/18/07
Posts: 166
Loc: Washington DC
Interesting to read how others deal with this, even if the discussion started years ago.

I have not told my mother (or extended family) and don't plan to. My father doesn't factor in, since he died before it all happened. Like most things in my recovery, my therapist(s) have always said I should decide what is best for *me*. I need to be selfish in approaching this. Unless there is a pressing reason to worry about the interests of others and involve them, recovery is a "me first" excerise.

I remember when I was dealing with the police, I thought for sure it would all come out, and I dreaded it. When nothing came of that, I just sort of breathed a sigh of relief that at least I didn't have to go through the family drama.

Now, with my mother being very old, I can't think of any compelling reason to tell her. I've processed what anger I felt and just don't see how giving her the information would help me. From my side of things, I know that telling her would create a lot of drama, and she would want to talk a lot about it with me and others for support. None of this has any value for me that I can see.

She has occasionally over the years wondered why neither my brother nor I had children. I suppose it would put that question to rest for her, but is resolving this question for her worth the headaches it would cause me? When nothing would change? No.

The last time I talked about this was when I began working with a new therapist, and he asked me to bring him up to speed on all that I had done. He had a great question when I told him I had not told my mother. He asked, was I not telling out of fear or shame? I said no, that I knew I was strong enough, that I could handle telling her. That if it ever mattered, I could tell her, but that I didn't want the drama for me or the hurt for her. I imagine it would be very disturbing to find out you fucked up so badly with your kids.

I'm sure she'd walk through the whole denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance steps, and for what? In this case, I think ignorance is best.
Work like you don't need the money;
dance like no one is watching;
sing like no one is listening;
love like you've never been hurt;
and live life every day as if it were your last.

#461790 - 03/01/14 01:19 PM Re: To those of you who did(n't) tell your family... [Re: Incognito]
traveler Offline

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 4286
Loc: resettling in NE Ohio
no point in talking to the step-dad about it. he was the first and main and longest-lasting perp. everything was always my fault according to him. and it wasn't abuse - he was punishing or disciplining or training/educating me.

no point in telling my mom about it. she intentionally denied, repressed and turned a blind eye to everything - verbal, physical and sexual abuse. either it didn't happen or it wasn't abuse. everything in our house was peachy. i tried as a kid to seek support and protection from her and got abandoned to his devices. and once as an adult in my 40s - after he was dead - i tried to talk with her - and got shot down.

i did tell my 3-years-younger brother when i was in my 30s. he did not know what had happened but was not surprised. i needed to have his confirmation that certain things had happened the way i remembered - in order to confirm to myself that my other memories were not sick, twisted imaginings of a perverted mind out of touch with reality. he helped me believe that i was not going insane.

the two much younger half-brothers - sons of step-dad and mom - i have not told. what is the point in forcing them to understand what a monster their dad was? let them live with whatever fantasies or demons they have on their own. we don't have much of a relationship anyway.


Edited by traveler (03/01/14 01:21 PM)
How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?...
Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails....
Habakkuk 1:2-3

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